Frustrated by lawmakers and politicians’ apathy and enraged by the negligence and indifference of the government and security apparatus, scores of youth and children from Parachinar held a protest march on Monday against the continuing siege of their town and killings of innocent commuters by militants.
Carrying coffins bearing the names of people brutally killed by extremists on their shoulders, the protesters marched from National Press Club to parliament house where the lower house was in session. The most noticeable thing in the rally, held on the 19th consecutive day of their peaceful protest, was the sight of young children wearing white shrouds. According to a press release issued on Monday by the youth of Parachinar, all the protesters were demanding was for the government to clear and open the Thal-Parachinar Road, which has been blocked for the last four years, and the continuing blockage of the road has created a plethora of problems for the people of the area.
The protesters were chanting slogans against Interior Minister Rehman Malik, who had promised to re-open the blocked road by April 27, but after almost two weeks, the road remains blocked and not a single one of the promised security measures promised by Malik have been followed through.
Majlis Wahdat Muslimeen Deputy Secretary and a scholar Ameen Shaheedi addressed the protesters, saying, “An area where 500,000 people reside cannot be closed off for such a long time by any militant terrorist group. If supplies cannot reach there and the people cannot travel safely, the government has to take serious concern of the matter.” The Chairman of Youth of Parachinar Ali Shah Kazmi led the rally to Parliament House.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 10th, 2011.